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The articulation of government policy: Health insurance mandates versus taxes

Listed author(s):
  • Ericson, Keith Marzilli
  • Kessler, Judd B.

Can the articulation of government policy affect behavior? Participants in our experiment report their probability of purchasing health insurance under one of two financially equivalent policies: a government mandate to purchase insurance or a tax on the uninsured. During our one-year study frame, controversy arose over the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. Pre-controversy, the mandate articulation increased purchase by 10.2 percentage points relative to the tax articulation (equivalent to a $1000 decrease in premiums). Post-controversy, the mandate was no more effective than the tax. We show that articulation affects behavior and should be considered when evaluating the efficacy of policy.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268115002644
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 124 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 43-54

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:124:y:2016:i:c:p:43-54
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.09.021
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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